Crystal in the Light
What’s the difference between Christian Crystal (TM) and Crystal….. (dare I? I do.)….. light?
I wonder if Dave knew how big of a question this was for me to try to answer. And how vague really. But I’ll try.
So much of the answer is, “I don’t know, but that’s okay.” Some of the answers are just “Things aren’t the way I was taught.” I haven’t completely figured out the new way, but I know my old way wasn’t right.
Like the stuff they taught me about Heaven and Hell and sex and alcohol and dancing and love and life and sin – and even God. That stuff wasn’t right. I don’t know for sure what is right, but I’m working on it, and eliminating some of the possibilities must be getting me closer to the answer.
Disclaimer: While I hate to be subjective I have to explain one little thing, when I say “not right” I really mean “not right for me.” – Ah, I feel much better now.
So this change, or paradigm shift or enlightenment or whatever the crap you want to call it, has been happening for a long time and I have been trying to ignore it for a long time. Fighting it because it was “lack of faith” or “heresy” or “just spiritual confusion” – whatever the pastor and the rest of the kids in the churchyard were calling it that week.
The thing is, ignoring it and fighting it just made it hurt more. It fought back. Unrest. Dis-ease. Frustration. Sadness. Anger. Alcohol abuse. The arms of a stranger or two – the mouth of a stranger or two. And, other body parts, let’s just be honest. Plus, lots of TV and way too many pancakes.
When the Christian answers weren’t enough I would try again. Rededicate my faith efforts and all that. Read the Bible more, pray more go to the church whenever it was open. But I always wound up back at the place where the pastor’s words (or the prayers and the Bible verses) were just echoing loudly in something vast and empty inside of me.
It just never took me where my inner self (you know that voice, the inner urge that you try to drown out when you don’t know how to answer it) was aching to go. Not because it was wrong per se, but because it couldn’t get me any further than I had been able to go in the past. There was no longer potential for growth. And it all stagnates…and festers…and falls apart.
And then, more pancakes.
And I would wind up crying in the parking lot at church instead of going in week after week after week. And I was still wondering. I knew there was something further and something deeper, but I didn’t know how to get to it. And Christianity wasn’t helping.
There are a lot of things I have had half right for a long time. They were ideas that I recognized the truth of, but then tried to shove into a Christian worldview. (And, I should probably clarify that it was a modern, Midwestern, protestant Christian world view.)
My concept of God was pretty big. A lot of you have heard me say that God is infinite and we are finite so there are an infinite number of finite ways that he can get to us, express Himself to us…express Himself through us.
But all within the bounds of the Bible and Christianity, of course.
Once, while trying to witness to a self-professing Agnostic friend I said “It’s one thing to know that God can’t be completely understood – that’s fine. But, it’s another thing not to try to understand Him. It’s just lazy. If you earnestly look for God and look for truth, you’ll find Him. You’ll find it.”
Of course the part I didn’t say is that the only place to find God and truth was in Christianity.
Even though I hadn’t found much of either within Christianity in a long time. But I was holding out hope. Trying to be “faithful” and trying to cash in on what the pastors were telling me about getting rewarded eventually.
Besides, being right is a reward isn’t it? But if I’m right you have to be wrong. And then I’ll be mad and scared every time I’m confronted with something that suggests you’re right or that I’m wrong. So I have to figure out all the ways that you’re wrong and convince as many people as possible so that I can keep convincing myself that I’m right.
Not exactly the peace that passes all understanding is it? Holy frustrating religion, Batman. (I think a lot of people are this type of religious about politics too, but that’s another topic for another time.)
My concept of sin was getting close to truth when I had the idea that the reason things are considered sins is because they have negative consequences built into them. God called it “sin” and said “no, you can’t do this and that” because He wanted to protect us. To keep us safe from the negative consequences.
“Especially when it comes to pre-marital sex,” the dogma told me while I was crying about having sex with my boyfriend. “Because that is the biggest and most damaging sin – except for maybe homosexuality, because that’s pre-marital and unnatural sex. Heck you’ll never be the same because of it. In fact, you might not be able to fully recover from it.”
“Really? The God in Christianity isn’t big enough to redeem that?” my inner voice asked. “What about that whole forgive anything death on a cross deal? What about making me whole again?”
“You can be forgiven but still scarred irreparably,” the dogma in my head told me.
“Is that why I can’t enjoy sex?”
“Yup, because you didn’t wait until you were married to have it. And you might never like it.” dogma would say very heartlessly and matter-of-factly.
“Shit. Never? There’s no way to make it better? No way to heal?”
“Sorry, them’s the rules. You should have kept it in your pants.”
Yeah, I had variations of that conversation with myself a lot. That’s a big consequence to try to keep us from. So that’s a big sin – right? But what if the only consequence of pre-marital sex is a guilt-free orgasm?
“That’s heresy!” the dogma voice said.
But my inner me was still hoping for it. And, I know now that it was hoping for it because it knew it was real. That’s right. I’ve been having guilt-free sex.
(I can feel all my Christian friends thinking that I’ll suffer the consequences eventually and all of my other friends thinking it’s about damn time. Enough guys.)
In fact, I would go so far as to say that I don’t think premarital sex is a sin. I might even say that I don’t believe in sin. I can’t even stomach that word currently. In fact, I balk at all of the jargon associated with Christianity right now. Maybe I’m just burnt out on Christianity.
I do still believe in consequences. In fact I think that a lot of the things that the Christian world has declared sin are really just powerful. Stuff like sex. And powerful things can be incredibly creative and incredibly destructive. I just don’t think that the only sacred and profound way to have sex is within marriage, and I don’t think that all sex within marriage is sacred and profound.
But in order to avoid the potential destruction of these powerful things Christianity (and other groups) has gotten rid of the potential for creation and beauty as well.
Oh…I’m tired. That’s a lot of stuff. Maybe I am ready to talk about this stuff. But, maybe more specific questions would be better from now on. My brain hurts. Please feel free to ask.
Now for a vague answer to Dave’s vague-ish question: I guess the biggest difference between Chrystal Christian and Crystal Light is that Crystal Light is happier – and finally satisfied. Yeah, satisfied with the search. Satisfied with more questions and fewer answers. Satisfied with going further and getting deeper.